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Buyer's Wish List
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Having been involved with several transactions in years past, we recently started looking for another purchase as an investment. Is it just me or has the broker profession become less professional? In the current process, I've met many different brokers ( both sides) and thus far, I've been under impressed. Thought I'd start this thread as a guide sheet for brokers based on my not so great experiences. Here goes:

1) DO include pertinent info such as building, square footage, cc, floor plans in your listing. These basics get me to call you more quickly than a generic description;
2) DON'T use photos of an entirely different building to advertise your listing;
3) DO know comps in the building or in the nearby area so you can educate us or explain why the unit is a good proposition. Just "showing" a unit doesn't add much value;
4) DON'T just try to get us through the door into every imaginable building so you can claim a commission in case we buy into a particular one. Our time is just as valuable;
5) DO be on time and respond to inquires in a timely manner;
6) DON'T always try to sell us the most expensive unit even when when it's within our range. Nothing gets a new owner more pissed than learning he/she overpaid;
7) Courtesy and friendliness is always appreciated. Attitude is not. Even if you think we're just looking and won't buy, your manner and actions reflect on the developer/sponsor/brokerage. The "I can't be bothered" or "super suck up" attitude is transparent and translates into bad management.
8) Knowledge and due diligence will earn repeat business and referrals more than just being nice and waxing poetic about Bosch (whose models vary in quality);
9) DO understand that when making a big purchase, nothing is more laughable than a broker saying, " Do you want to put in an offer?" after having just walked through a unit for the first time.
10) DON'T try to sucker buyers be they first time purchasers, experienced investors, foreigners, or locals. You are being paid a hefty commission when the deal goes through. Even if the deal doesn't materialize, you're hopefully building a reputation.
8) While buyers will have to conduct our own due diligence, brokers can be more helpful;
9)

9) DON'T lie that you have an offer out and the buyer needs to put an offer ASAP to get the apartment.
10) DO find out if the building allows pets and what kind so that you don't drag buyers with a 50 lbs dog to a no pets building.
11) DO find out what the sublet policy is.
12) DO find out what the down payment policies are to ensure the buyer is able to purchase the unit.
13) DON'T say "Financials of this building are great" if you have no clue at all.

14. DO arrange a showing for a time when other building amenties such as gym, play room, etc can also be seen.

15. DO NOT steer a buyer to a particular listing simply because it's from your own agency and/or because your office manager wants that listing sold.

16. DO say "I don't know but I'll try to find out" if you are asked a question to which you do not know the answer.. and then DO make the effort to get the information to the potential buyer ASAP.

At an open house - don't stand over me like a salivating hound making sure I sign in. Don't follow me around step for step--I want to be able to speak freely with my husband without you hanging onto every word.

I wonder what niche you're looking in. I went to four UWS 2-3 BR open houses this Sunday, and I caught 3 senior brokers who knew their product cold and were fantastic -- and only one "show-er" who was new enough that he didn't know the apt.

ali r.
DG Neary Realty

This is a truly helpful list that I will share with the agents in my company. It reminds me of the 100 restaurant do's and don'ts from the NYTimes: http://boss.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/10/29/one-hundred-things-restaurant-staffers-should-never-do-part-one/

I think it might be useful to divide the list into a) advice for agents representing properties (1,2,3,7,both 8s, both 9s, 10-14, and 16) and b) advice for agents representing buyers (all the rest, plus 16 as well).

If you are an agent running an open house, by all means you should know about sublet, down payment and pet policies (though it is often the case that, for legal reasons, you may not know about the building's "financials"). And of course a thorough listing is preferable (though some co-ops frown upon square footage calculations, preferring # of shares as a unit of value rather than ppsf). What you may perceive as respecting open house clients' privacy sometimes translates as "I can't be bothered"; conversely, taking all potential buyers seriously may come off as the "super suck up" attitude of "a salivating hound". Learning to walk that fine line can distinguish a successful broker from an object of scorn and derision.

If you are an agent representing a buyer, many of the items in the original list ring true. But if I am setting up a dozen initial showings for a new buyer client, I am unlikely to have the same breadth of knowledge as the listing agents, unless I happen to have sold a similar unit in the same building. If a client is truly interested in one of the properties I have shown her, I will absolutely follow up with all the due diligence I am permitted by law. But I'm not going to do that before we show up at an open house - my time is valuable, too, and best spent researching the properties you are genuinely interested in.

Tina
(Brooklyn broker)

Do NOT continue to have open houses after the contract has been signed by both sides. Seriously, what IS that?

Needs--it would be very unusual for showings to continue to happen after signing. I've never heard of that happening. It is standard, however, to continue to show for back-up after contracts have gone out but before signed papers have been delivered.

Tell the seller and family to take a hike during the showing.

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falco--LAVENDER?? Seriously? No Theirry Mugler Angel or Viktor Rolf Flower Bomb? Or at the very least some Victoria's Secret Pear Glace Splash?

Know what the pied a terre policy is, and what recent history of the board has and has not allowed.
Know what the renovation policy is and how it is implemented.
Know if there is storage, bicycle room, gym - and any costs associated.
Know the specifics of any assessments, etc - why, for how long.
Take responsibility - I have grown tired of hearing this at open houses - "I am sitting in for the agent - sorry I cannot answer all your questions. Write your mail address clearly and I am sure he/she will get back to you."

** Do NOT continue to have open houses after the contract has been signed by both sides. **

YES PLEASE don't do that. I've seen it before, it has happened to us -- the property was being shown and offered after we signed a contract and handed over the deposit.

The obvious response there is to go see another of the listing broker's places and place an offer there as well which he/she is required to communicate.

20) State the correct square footage (Gross and Net excluding exterior walls and stairs).
oops that would be hard as it would make it harder to inflate the square footage.

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21) Do not put your listing on and off the market several times over the course of a week and say it's not for sale anymore, it's for rent now, then it's off the market, then I see an open house for sale scheduled??? At the very least, let people who expressed interest before that it's back on the market and the open house is on x day...

Tina, I have two more for your list:

1. Don't show listings that are 20% over the buyer's limit.

2. DO return emails after the buyer says they can't spend that much.

Barrier to entry for new brokers is too low. Find a good buyer broker and dont deal with the sharks representing the sellers.

Here's another: Don't say "There's nothing like that in your price range" when I am on the other end of the phone with a printout from Streeteasy that shows plenty of those in my price range. The MLS is not a closed system anymore. If you are too lazy to even take a look on the MLS for me, then you don't deserve my business.

Or here's my favorite TRUE STORY: don't give me a picture of yourself as the congrats gift at closing. Seriously?

WAIT THERE'S MORE: When you're visiting to drop off paperwork, don't ask me why you don't see the picture of yourself anywhere. WTF?

rkravath has a good point. Most people with a buyer broker don't realize that the sellers broker is representing, well, the seller. So, while it's fine to think that having access to information is all you need, getting to the table without someone on your side isn't always pretty.

without, rather

Seller's broker:
1. DON'T say nobody can predict taxes after the abatement runs out. There is an estimate in the Offering Plan, that is the number a buyer wants to know
2. DON'T lie about the tax abatement status - we'll see the offering plan.
3. DO know the number of units in contract in the building. Do not lie about that number, especially when a mortgage approval depends on it.

Buyer's broker
1. DON'T say everybody in NYC sells after 5 years, so it is crazy to plan beyond that.
2. DON'T submit the offer until the questions regarding the property have been answered.
3. DO have recommendations for a plumber, where one can check city's chemical spill records, etc.
4. DON'T sign people up for open houses without telling them.
5. DON'T tell a client that after the company takes 1/3, your boss takes 1/3 then you are left with what amounts to a minimum wage, so you don't have to address my questions.

Has anobudy ever really benefitted from having a buyer's broker? I felt it added an extra level of astraction and delay. However, I was very thorough and did a lot of my own research which I guess a knowledgeable broker would have brought to the table.

Don't tell me I should love every apartment you show me. Some of them are totally inappropriate for me and you know it. Some of them are complete dumps! If you represent me then you should have my best interests in mind. I can easily replace you.

Don't tell a buyer that their offer is an insult, then try to extract an offer that is 10% higher but the buyer refuses. When the apt sells a few months later for the price you considered "insulting" and least a mea culpa call would be nice.

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